Read Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas Online


A modern pastoral set in an imagined seaside town - the 'dismays and rainbows' of its inhabitants are played out within the cycle of one day. This title includes characters such as: Captain Cat, Mog Edwards and Miss Price, to name but a handful....

Title : Under Milk Wood
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780140188882
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 112 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Under Milk Wood Reviews

  • s.p
    2018-09-17 15:54

    We are not wholly bad or good, who live our lives under Milk Wood.The voices of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood rise and fall, crashing into each other like waves under a milky moon, their sweet prose an effervescence of sounds and syllables to intoxicate the soul. This ‘play for voices’ follows the lives of the citizens of Milk Wood across a full day, bookmarked by the surrealistically sensational dream sequences of the two nights. The play simply engulfs you in its beautiful embrace, like the warm encompassing feeling of sleep overtaking you under the coziest of blankets with the redolence of summer majesty breezing through an open window. Under Milk Wood offers a unique voyeuristic vantage-point for the reader—or listener—as they see all the hopes and dreams swimming in the hearts of these simple folks and watch them interact with one another. From dark and somber to hilarious and cynical, the spectrum of emotions and existence swings and sways to the vocal rhythm of Thomas’ sharp pen and wit. There is the aging sea captain haunted in dreams by pallid corpses speaking from their watery grave, the wife intent on poisoning her husband, the innocent cruelty of children, the lust of the village strumpet and the condescending remarks of those around her; all walks of life exist in the boundaries of this quiet village that could be any village. It satisfied my thirst for something similar to Woolf’s masterpiece The Waves and filled me with joy during the brief sitting it takes to read this play. Charged by the power of Thomas’ prose, sharpened over a distinguished career as a masterful poet, and alive with the madness and love of life, this ‘play for voices’ is an entertaining and exquisite event to read or listen to. 4.5/5The only sea I sawWas the seesaw seaWith you riding on it.Lie down, lie easy.Let me shipwreck in your thighs.

  • Petra X
    2018-10-07 12:00

    Rewritten July 30th, 2011, read way back when and reread 2011Some works of literature just beg to be read out loud - This is the House that Jack Built and Hiawatha are two that most people are familiar with. Under Milk Wood too, is better appreciated read aloud. A sample (read aloud with Welsh accent, sing-song, go up like a question at the end of the line):FIRST VOICEMr Pugh, in the School House opposite, takes up the morningtea to Mrs Pugh, and whispers on the stairs MR. PUGHHere's your arsenic, dear.And your weedkiller biscuit.I've throttled your parakeet.I've spat in the vases.I've put cheese in the mouseholes.Here's your... [_Door creaks open_ ...nice tea, dear. MRS PUGHToo much sugar.Or try this, read by Richard Burton (who was also from the valleys) I read this play by Dylan Thomas, I hear the village life of my childhood come to life. He caught the lilt and cadence of the valley speech and the trivial preoccupations of the people perfectly. Of course it helps that like Dylan Thomas I am also from South Wales and have the accent down pat!A little known fact, apparent to all Welsh people but no-one else, is that the village of Llareggub which looks perfectly Welsh is actually the English Bugger All backwards. (If it had been Welsh it would have been Llanreggub and mean the Parish of St. Reggub!)

  • Kevin Ansbro
    2018-10-02 14:50

    I don't know Llarregub about many things, but I do know that Thomas's sloe black, crow black, boat-bobbing, poetic creation was one of the most enjoyable books I read in school.If you haven't yet acquainted yourself with his rich rhetoric and magical mischievousness, then please do!

  • Trevor
    2018-09-16 11:49

    I can honestly say that the world would be a lesser place if I had never read this play. It is not just that it is laugh-out-loud funny or that it is sad enough to make me weep - Captain Cat being forgotten by Rosie near the end is almost too painful to remember. But it is so full, so wonderfully overflowing with all the day to day concerns of life and love that it is a world in and of itself. Here is true creative genius.From husbands purchasing books on how to poison their wives to the terrible things we dream in the silence of the night, to postmen's wives steaming open mail and then their mailman husbands telling everyone what is in their letters. Listen. You can hear their voices speaking to you across the darkness and over the soft hush of the waves lapping at the shore while gently raising the boats of the fishermen who are drinking at the bar all day long because it is always just after opening time. You can sing along to the bawdy songs of the drunks or listen with blind Captain Cat as he identifies people in their passing by the tap of their steps on the cobbles or the sudden silence of the women pretending not to notice Polly who the police are sure to come after sooner or later. You can dream with the Sea Captain as the faces of the long dead come out of the sea to greet him each in their turn. Or if you are quiet, you can share in the lustful desires of a young girl tucked up toasty in her bed with her hairy lover rudely wagging his tail or lie starched in the icy cold sheets of a widow who remains anything but snug though forever bookended between her two dead husbands.The children's songs will dance in your mind for years - I bought the George Martin production of this play when the kids were born and have sung them Johnny Crack and Flossy Snail ever since - even now they are both in their late teens.There are 'adult themes' in this book, and not just because one of the characters is a loose woman with quite a few too many babies - but everyone has either two wives or two husbands or too few husbands or a wife too many. The characters just stay with you - butchers selling man chop and bakers' wives who have to borrow loaves of bread from neighbours because the baker forgot the bread, wives who have two husbands, a sober and a drunk one, and my favourite, No Good Boyo, up to no good and who has the best line in the whole play - one I repeatedly quote at random when odd things happen in my life and which, if I'm overheard, no one ever seems to understand - "Bloody funny fish."But the language, the song of the words, the lilt and crackle and exuberance of words themselves at play - god, to be able to write like that. Okay, so he was a poet, but with such an ear. And an eye for life and a hand that could balance the worth of a line and not give it either too much weight or too little, but just enough.Time passes, listen, time passes.

  • Darwin8u
    2018-10-16 16:45

    "This town's as full as a lovebird's egg."- Dylan Thomas, Under Milk WoodThis book has languished on my shelf.Ignored.Left alone. I bought this book years ago. It was a deal. It was a steal. It was $2 at Goodwill. I recognized Dylan Thomas and knew it was a Folio edition. $2? Value? Done. I brought it home, put it on the shelf. Thought about it only narrowly. I figured it was a book of poetry. Poems. Fights against the dying of the light and whatnots. Nope. It is certainly poetic. Lyrical. Whimsical. A play, however. Meant for many voices. An innovation for Radio. Meant to be read. Think of later James Joyce, but something easy to understand. A well-spoken lust dream in a Welch coastal town.So, ignored on the shelf? Why now? I'm trying and dying to read 100 books, during the first 100 days of either the year (closer) or year + Trump's 100 days (more than 100 I guess). So on days when I don't have 4+ hours to read, or the book I want to read is bigger than 240 pages, I generally use small books of poetry or philosophy to bridge a larger book into smaller bites without violating my first rule (1 book a day). So, yes, I am anal retentive about even things I enjoy. So, back to Under Milk Wood. If you have the opportunity to read it, read it. If you have the opportunity to listen to either Dylan Thomas & Co read it, listen. Richard Burton & Co is also a nice treat.Some of my favorite lines:"It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobble streets silent and the hunched, courters'-and-blackrabbits' wood limping invisible down to the shoeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea.""From where you are you can hear their dreams.""And before you let the sun in, mind it wipes its shoes.""And high above, in Salt Lake Farm, Mr Utah Watkins counts, all night, the wife-faced sheep as they leap the fences on the hill, smiling and knitting and bleating just like Mrs. Utah Watkins.""...who kissed her once by the pig-sty when she wasn't looking and never kissed her again although she was looking all the time.""Time Passes. Listen. Time passes. An owl flies home past Bethesda, to a chapel in an oak. And the dawn inches up.""There is no leg belonging to the foot that belongs to this shoe."

  • Mimi
    2018-09-26 11:47

    Not a play or a poem, exactly. This was written to be performed as a BBC radio drama, and it's about life in a sleepy town in Wales. We follow a few characters as they go from dream to wakefulness and then move through the rest of their day. We get to hear their thoughts and reflections as they do every day things. Sounds very dull, I know, which is why you have to read (or listen to) it for yourself.In the tradition of small towns (both fictional and nonfictional), everyone has a big secret. Each character is haunted by old ghosts and rivals, and all are hiding their true intentions, and at least one has murder on the mind. Not so dull once you go further into the story. The writing is incredibly interesting in its simplicity and depth. Dylan Thomas has a thing for lyrical wordplay, and his prose can speak volumes in just a couple of lines.What's most fascinating to me about this piece is the way it reads like a slightly discomforting tour guide of this seemingly quaint little town. You get to take a walk about the town and see the sights, but beyond that, you also get to see into the people who live there. And these people sort of hate each other, but they're sort of stuck to the town. So a lot of forced niceties are exchanged on the surface, but behind the smiles and small talks, they're imagining each other dead.Originally posted at

  • Shovelmonkey1
    2018-09-24 16:34

    I like Dylan Thomas for two reasons1. I grew up in Wales 2. I read his book Under Milk Wood when I was in school.Wales is a strange place to grow up. For a start you're told as a child that it's full of castles and dragons and daffodils and that there is evil over the border (England) and that Rugby is the one true sport. Some of those things are true. I'm sure even Dylan Thomas thought them from time to time. I lived outside Cardiff and Thomas was busily engaged in being Welsh in and around the area of Swansea which is just a bit further along the coast. He described Swansea as an "ugly lovely town" which was then translated in the film Twin Towns to " a pretty shitty city". A bit unfair perhaps but then Swansea is fairly unlovely. The area of the Mumbles however is stunning and its natural beauty which influenced Thomas, should not be overlooked.Reading Under Milk Wood was simultaneously fun and a form of torture for me as we read it out loud and tried in turn to make it replicate the radio play it was originally supposed to be. The characters of Llareggub were supposed to spring to life in our hands and through our voices. I can still remember chunks of the text "Nothing grows in my garden, only washing and babies", springs to mind first and foremost. As a child this made me ponder about what sort of green fingeredness it would take for children to start sprouting in the back yard. Unfortunately as I'd only recently arrived from Edinburgh, where I was initially educated, my "valleys" accent left a little to be desired. Everyone else already had a welsh accent and could just lay it on a bit more thickly to create a passable approximation of a valley twang and then there was me with a Scots brogue trying to sound like one of the Mrs Dai Breads for the recording we were making and failing miserably. Part send up, part caricature, part hymn to the eccentricities of a welsh town Under Milk Wood is post war Wales at its colourful best.

  • Warwick
    2018-09-29 14:01

    A smorgasbord of language. I am still blown away every time I read that first measured sentence, about the woodland ‘limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea’.If you only knew Dylan Thomas from his short poems (as I did before I read this) then prepare for a very pleasant shock. The wonderful rhythm of the lines here, the extraordinary creativity of compound words and unexpected similes, all sustained over a considerable distance, is something quite distinctive and entirely absorbing. And surprisingly funny at times: there is a lot of warm, affectionate interplay between the different characters of this sleepy Welsh town, rivalries, fantasies, frustrations, sexual liaisons real and imagined, boredom, dreams – everything you'd expect from small-town life is here.But it's the poetic language that makes me really love it. The ‘sunhoneyed cobbles’, the ‘dumb goose-hiss of the wives’, Gossamer Benyon who is ‘spoonstirred and quivering’ and who ‘high-heels out of school’ – milk churns that stand ‘like short, silver policemen’, and lovers in ‘the grassgreen gooseberried double bed of the wood’ – it's all described as though in the throes of some ecstatic vision, which I suppose is what good poetry should be like.I don't want to overstate my case too much, but go here and listen to Richard Burton reading the opening section, and if you're not rolling on the floor in delight after about thirty seconds, then you probably have no soul.

  • Vit Babenco
    2018-10-09 20:04

    “Sundown dazzling day gold through my eyes but my eyes turned within only see starless and bible black…” King Crimson – Starless.Under Milk Wood has a texture of a lyrical myth so it is timeless…People sleep and they dream... People wake up and they play fools, dawdle, muck around, misbehave, recollect, fantasize and build castles in the air…“There's the clip clop of horses on the sun-honeyed cobbles of the humming streets, hammering of horse-shoes, gobble quack and cackle, tomtit twitter from the bird-ounced boughs, braying on Donkey Down. Bread is baking, pigs are grunting, chop goes the butcher, milk-churns bell, tills ring, sheep cough, dogs shout, saws sing. Oh, the Spring whinny and morning moo from the clog dancing farms, the gulls’ gab and rabble on the boat-bobbing river and sea and the cockles bubbling in the sand, scamper of sanderlings, curlew cry, crow caw, pigeon coo, clock strike, bull bellow, and the ragged gabble of the bear garden school as the women scratch and babble in Mrs Organ Morgan's general shop where everything is sold: custard, buckets, henna, rat-traps, shrimp-nets, sugar, stamps, confetti, paraffin, hatchets, whistles.”People love and hate… People live.“Bible black and captain cat keeps the world inside his hat with deep dry wells and cockled shells he holds his wife beneath his paws…” The Coral – Milkwood Blues.

  • Jane Jago
    2018-10-01 19:56

    This just takes my breath away.The language. The evocation of time and place.The exquisite rhythm.I'm in love with this piece of work

  • Kim
    2018-09-22 13:40

    Dylan Thomas originally intended this work to be radio play. However, my first experience of it was seeing the film adaptation narrated by Richard Burton, back when I was in high school in the 1970s. I remember two things about the experience: loving the sound of Richard Burton's voice, and feeling overwhelmed. This extract from the review in the New York Times goes some way to explaining my reaction: Too many words, perhaps, for the stage. Too many words, I'm convinced, for the screen. It's not simply the quantity of words, though. It's also their ornateness. They overflow the ears and get into the eyes. Great clouds of them everywhere, like swarms of big soft gnats. They won't stop, and they make the job of the film adapter almost impossible.Since then I've read the play and seen at least one stage production. However, it took until today, when I saw this production by the Sydney Theatre Company that I came to fully appreciate not just the magic of Thomas' words, but the fact that a stage production really can work. The production was wonderful and the words are still racing around inside my head. A few years ago, my daughter recited these lines from the play at the wedding of her best friend to a Welsh boy. This is what Mr Edwards says to Miss Price:I am a draper mad with love. I love you more than all the flannelette and calico, candlewick, dimity, crash and merino, tussore, cretonne, crepon, muslin, poplin, ticking and twill in the whole Cloth Hall of the world. I have come to take you away to my Emporium on the hill, where the change hums on wires. Throw away your little bedsocks and your Welsh wool knitted jacket, I will warm the sheets like an electric toaster, I will lie by your side like the Sunday roast.Wonderful, wonderful writing. The great clouds of words no longer overwhelm me. They transport me.

  • Fiona
    2018-09-17 13:47

    I remember the first time I came across Under Milk Wood, and it was when I was learning about imagery for my GCSEs. I fell in love with it - and, of course, with Richard Burton's beautiful First Voice.One joy of being an English teacher is teaching your favourite texts to someone new - which I'm pretty sure was what was happening to to me, the first time I was taught this. It wasn't on the syllabus.Another joy is that you can take playful, inventive, poetic language and give it to a kid who's inevitably petrified by it. And then you can break it down, and explain it to them, and it's a bit like you're showing someone a secret language, a second story just underneath the surface of the one you're reading, and you can watch that kid go from fear and mistrust, to real appreciation of rhythm and metaphor and description and sound - right in front of your eyes. It's like magic. I'll never get tired of it as long as I live.We spent an hour and a half on the opening monologue, and then the same again comparing it with the use of pace, sound, description of night time in Auden's The Night Mail. I got to remember exactly what I love about linguistic gymnastics, and as for him, he'll never be scared of poetry, or imagery, again.

  • StevenGodin
    2018-10-10 17:38

    Drama, poetry or comedy?, how about all of them. Centering around one day in a small, unexceptional Welsh coastal town. We first meet those who recide at a point before dawn, the night "flying like black flour", as the reader drifts off through the dark fields and streets, through the bedrooms of the sleeping residents and into their dreams. From there we watch as they wake up and work, following them out of bed over this one day and then finally back into bed as night falls.The melodic and beautiful use of language creates a charming world, through a lens we affectionately observe all their passions, predicaments, comings and goings. He writes with great warmth, rogues and saints alike treated with charity and humour. Thomas views all characters with an easy sympathy, happy to be in their company. A spirited toast to humanity, he makes the sun shine in the most dullest of places. Along with Daffodils, leeks and sheep, Thomas is another with a strong symbolic meaning.

  • J.A. Kahn
    2018-09-19 14:36

    I absolutely loved this radio play. It is a delicious peek into the lives of a sleepy Welsh fishing village and all the intrigues that go on in the peoples' lives. The book is great fun to read in a group but I would recommend you hear the audio version (with Richard Burton as one of the narrators) to get a true feel for the musicality and poetic beauty of this book.

  • Zee
    2018-10-09 11:37

    OK, I don't know what this is, but it's not your average play... Under Milk Wood is something else. It deserves its own category. Shortly before his death I reckon Dylan Thomas came sublimely close to the perfect narrative. Readers of 'Cold Comfort Farm' will definitely recognise an Aunt Ada Doom-ish humour that rides on the coattails of stream of consciousness. Under Milk Wood is very hard to pin down as it's a mix of so many things, and that's what makes it so astonishingly brilliant. It delves into the unlikely dreams and nightmares of a small Welsh port town (quite literally), which shocking hinge rather a lot on sex, love, longing and even murder. Let's put it this way, their waking dreams do not waver much from their night ones! Having said that, it is rather hilarious and had me in stitches at one point. Who said that inbred villagers were boring? Every character is a fascination unto itself; paragons of the town gossip and the village idiot head a wonderfully rich cast which is further enriched by a dynamic, odd yet strangely 'on the ball' type of language. In fact if words could be tasted and felt like tangible things, then the only place you could experience that would be in Under Milk Wood. You must read it and see for yourself.

  • Huda AbuKhoti
    2018-10-03 16:38

    Wow... Yup, this is going in my recommendation list to other people whether they ask for it or not.

  • Mike
    2018-09-16 18:58

    If I could go back in time about 45 minutes ago and beat myself into a bloody, vegetative state, or at least into an illiterate delirium, so that I wouldn't have read this book, I would. If I could fit pliers into my ears so that I could rip out the sound of this play from my head forever, I would. If I could dig up Dylan Thomas' body and rig it with explosives and blow it up, making me blind from the concussion and so ensuring that I never accidentally read so much as a line of this again, because I know I'm too lazy to learn Braille, I would.

  • Bam
    2018-09-17 18:59

    Here we enter the lives of the residents of Milk Wood, a Welsh seaside town, first through their dreams, then through their daytime interactions with each other. As in all of our lives, some moments are terribly laugh-out-loud funny, some poignantly sad. Dylan Thomas was quite the wordsmith! Sub-titled "A Play for Voices," I would love to hear voices perform this play someday.

  • notgettingenough
    2018-10-07 14:59

    Hate:MRS PUGHGive me the parcel. WILLY NILLY [postman whose wife reads all the mail to him before he delivers it:]It's for Mr Pugh, Mrs Pugh. MRS PUGHNever you mind. What's inside it? WILLY NILLYA book called Lives of the Great Poisoners.[later:]MRS PUGHPersons with manners do not read at table, FIRST VOICEsays Mrs Pugh. She swallows a digestive tablet as big as ahorse-pill, washing it down with clouded peasoup water. [Pause:] MRS PUGHSome persons were brought up in pigsties. MR PUGHPigs don't read at table, dear. FIRST VOICEBitterly she flicks dust from the broken cruet. It settleson the pie in a thin gnat-rain. MR PUGHPigs can't read, my dear. MRS PUGHI know one who can. FIRST VOICEAlone in the hissing laboratory of his wishes, Mr Pughminces among bad vats and jeroboams, tiptoes throughspinneys of murdering herbs, agony dancing in hiscrucibles, and mixes especially for Mrs Pugh a venomousporridge unknown to toxicologists which will scald andviper through her until her ears fall off like figs, hertoes grow big and black as balloons, and steam comesscreaming out of her navel. MR PUGHYou know best, dear, FIRST VOICEsays Mr Pugh, and quick as a flash he ducks her in ratsoup. MRS PUGHWhat's that book by your trough, Mr Pugh? MR PUGHIt's a theological work, my dear. Lives of the GreatSaints. FIRST VOICEMrs Pugh smiles. An icicle forms in the cold air of thedining-vault.[later:]MRS PUGHPersons with manners, SECOND VOICEsnaps Mrs cold Pugh, MRS PUGHdo not nod at table. FIRST VOICEMr Pugh cringes awake. He puts on a soft-soaping smile: itis sad and grey under his nicotine-eggyellow weepingwalrus Victorian moustache worn thick and long in memoryof Doctor Crippen. MRS PUGHYou should wait until you retire to your sty, SECOND VOICEsays Mrs Pugh, sweet as a razor. His fawning measlyquarter-smile freezes. Sly and silent, he foxes into hischemist's den and there, in a hiss and prussic circleof cauldrons and phials brimful with pox and the BlackDeath, cooks up a fricassee of deadly nightshade,nicotine, hot frog, cyanide and bat-spit for his needlingstalactite hag and bednag of a pokerbacked nutcrackerwife. MR PUGHI beg your pardon, my dear, SECOND VOICEhe murmurs with a wheedle.Love:FIRST VOICECaptain Cat, at his window thrown wide to the sun and theclippered seas he sailed long ago when his eyes were blueand bright, slumbers and voyages; ear-ringed and rolling,I Love You Rosie Probert tattooed on his belly, he brawlswith broken bottles in the fug and babel of the dark dockbars, roves with a herd of short and good time cows inevery naughty port and twines and souses with the drownedand blowzy-breasted dead. He weeps as he sleeps and sails. SECOND VOICEOne voice of all he remembers most dearly as his dreambuckets down. Lazy early Rosie with the flaxen thatch,whom he shared with Tom-Fred the donkeyman and manyanother seaman, clearly and near to him speaks from thebedroom of her dust. In that gulf and haven, fleets by thedozen have anchored for the little heaven of the night;but she speaks to Captain napping Cat alone. Mrs Probert... ROSIE PROBERTfrom Duck Lane, Jack. Quack twice and ask for Rosie SECOND the one love of his sea-life that was sardined withwomen. ROSIE PROBERT (Softly)What seas did you see,Tom Cat, Tom Cat,In your sailoring daysLong long ago?What sea beasts wereIn the wavery greenWhen you were my master? CAPTAIN CATI'll tell you the truth.Seas barking likeseals, Blue seas and green,Seas covered with eelsAnd mermen and whales. ROSIE PROBERTWhat seas did you sailOld whaler whenOn the blubbery wavesBetween Frisco and WalesYou were my bosun? CAPTAIN CATAs true as I'm hereDear you Tom Cat's tartYou landlubber RosieYou cosy loveMy easy as easyMy true sweetheart,Seas green as a beanSeas gliding with swansIn the seal-barking moon. ROSIE PROBERTWhat seas were rockingMy little deck handMy favourite husband In your seaboots and hungerMy duck my whalerMy honey my daddyMy pretty sugar sailor.With my name on your bellyWhen you were a boyLong long ago? CAPTAIN CATI'll tell you no lies.The only sea I sawWas the seesaw seaWith you riding on it.Lie down, lie easy.Let me shipwreck in your thighs. ROSIE PROBERT,Knock twice, Jack,At the door of my graveAnd ask for Rosie. CAPTAIN CATRosie Probert. ROSIE PROBERTRemember her.She is forgetting.The earth which filled her mouthIs vanishing from her.Remember me.I have forgotten you.I am going into the darkness of the darkness for ever.I have forgotten that I was ever born. CHILDLook, FIRST VOICEsays a child to her mother as they pass by the window ofSchooner House, CHILDCaptain Cat is crying FIRST VOICECaptain Cat is crying CAPTAIN CATCome back, come back, FIRST VOICEup the silences and echoes of the passages of the eternalnight.Read the whole thing here: should you ever be so privileged as to find Guy Masterton's rendition at a theatre, be thoroughly ashamed of yourself if you do not crawl over broken glass to get there. The Times in 1997 said "ONE OF THE MOST INVENTIVE, REMARKABLE PERFORMANCES OF THE DECADE." It deserves to be in capital letters. I saw it in the Adelaide Fringe a few days ago, it is back in the UK over the next months.Listen to Guy performing part of Capt Cat's lament about Rosie here: http://www.theatretoursinternational....It does speak for itself, but if you would like a review, I leave that to my betters: Trevor's done a great job.

  • Gary
    2018-09-25 14:50

    Under Milk Wood is exactly what it says it is - a play for voices; and no-one's voice does it more justice than that of Richard Burton, a Welshman whose reading of this work is committed, passionate, resonant, rich and second-to-none.I should also say that this is not a monologue. Burton is the narrator but there is also a full cast of actors reading all the parts, which brings the play to life and gives it depth.If you liked reading the play, listen to this and feel its power. I might try listening to it whilst reading it at the same time.The audio version is also available on Spotify.Wonderful stuff.

  • LaurenHighton
    2018-10-14 13:58

    This play is so dear to me. Any book you thumb through when you're not expecting anything much in particular, and instead get something startling, will do that. I had forgotten that words could be strung together in a way that could thrill me, hush me, soothe and amuse me, all in one. I had not had so much fun, purely from wordplay, maybe ever. Every year or so I return, gladly, giddily, happy with expectation.*When Under Milk Wood was first performed in New York in 1953, Dylan Thomas’ advice to the cast was to ‘Love the words, love the words’. And reading it, or better yet hearing it, the truth of this advice reveals itself. Written originally as a radio play, this really is a ‘play for voices’. It stands alone in its language—anything else would detract. The villagers’ voices stand apart and yet together, rising above the rooftops of Llareggub in a strange chorus. In the cycle of a day, the dreams, wishes, yearnings, endearing idiosyncrasies of the villagers take the helm one by one, but steered on by the evocative narration of the First Voice, the glue that stops them lifting off into that ‘starless and bible-black’ sky.In Under Milk Wood it is as much about the words as the meaning behind them, to take you back to Thomas’ words of advice. This is like the baby who tests the new vowels on his tongue, overcome by the novelty of them. Thomas is having fun here. There are points where meaning is compromised for a rich sentence, and more often it’s just overdone—but it’s glorious for it and always intentional. The idea of an English language existing undisturbed, not overturned, toyed with and delighted in by Thomas, is a strange and solemn one. Playful, funny, ardent, human, sometimes unsettling, pure poetry, that’s Under Milk Wood for me.

  • Nick
    2018-10-04 17:45


  • Stuart Aken
    2018-10-10 16:00

    Many years ago, I bought the vinyl LP of the BBC radio production of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood. It’s subtitled, ‘A Play for Voices’, and that’s about as accurate a description as I can think of. The radio production is superb, with the brilliant Richard Burton articulating the First Voice in his own inimitable style. A wonderful listening experience.But what of the text? I picked up a copy from a small independent bookshop whilst shopping in Beverley with my daughter for a student cook book, which we also found.The text is inevitably flavoured by my memory of the broadcast. I hear the various voices, all of them Welsh, as I turn the pages. It’s a dazzling piece of writing. The characters are alive and so distinctive. The words bring to life real people, individuals drawn from Dylan’s past. He must have been a great observer of people, if his understanding of them is anything to go by. The stories they tell, the opinions they express, the incidents they cause and observe, all point to a creator who lived with them on intimate terms.The occasional melancholy and touch of genuine sorrow apart, the play is bursting with humour. Here is a piece that celebrates life, celebrates what it is to be a human being. It is, unescapably, very Welsh in terms of language and a view of village life, but it manages to encompass all human experience in spite of its parochial setting. I laughed out loud through much of the reading, so full of joy and exuberance is the text.If you want a brief interlude of fun, entertainment and wonder at the sheer genius of a man who could do amazing things with words, this is for you. This is one of those rare experiences in life: a perfectly created piece of imaginative storytelling. Brilliant. You’ll love it!

  • Victoria
    2018-09-21 13:59

    Dylan Thomas writes so amazingly beautifully. The story just flows and it is like music. The story is about nothing and yet about everything - just the ordinary nuances of life and community. The differences between the people in the town and their lives. I strongly recommend you read this - or watch a production of it. Time passes. Listen. Time passes.Come closer now.Only you can hear the houses sleeping in the streets in the slow deep salt andsilent black, bandaged night. Only you can see, in the blinded bedrooms, thecombs and petticoats over the chairs, the jugs and basins, the glasses of teeth,Thou Shalt Not on the wall, and the yellowing dickybird-watching pictures of thedead. Only you can hear and see, behind the eyes of the sleepers, the movementsand countries and mazes and colours and dismays and rainbows and tunes andwished and flight and fall and despairs and big seas of their dreams. From where you are, you can hear their dreams...

  • Michael
    2018-09-22 13:36

    This 1954 BBC recording featuring Richard Burton is a tour de force performance. Dylan Thomas had a sensitive ear for the rhythms of speech that informed his accentual verse and an imaginative approach to descriptive language that contributed both to his immense popularity during his all-too-brief life and after and to the dismissal of his work by many modern academic poets unable to see his value because of their tunnel-vision views of what modern poetry should be. To hear his words brought to life by Richard Burton, a fellow Welshman and a fellow roisterer, and by the other members of this talented ensemble is a rare treat indeed. Thomas was no mean performer himself, both on stage and off, but I think he would have been pleased by Burton's inspired interpretation. Thanks to Gary for the recommendation.

  • Nikki
    2018-10-04 15:36

    A radio 'feature', rather than a play, according to the introduction to my edition, Under Milk Wood is amazing. It's full of lively, unique description, a rapidfire sketch of village life. I can't even pick out a part I like best because all of it is vivacious and interesting. The description, on the first page, for just one example, of the night, 'starless and bible-black'. Dylan Thomas knew what he was doing when it came to language, at all times, and it shows.The introduction to this edition, by Walford Davies, is a very good one, giving an idea of the background of the story, context to explain what's going on, bits about Dylan's writing process... And the back is full of explanatory notes.A quick read. Likely to reward rereading richly, I'd say.

  • Samir Rawas Sarayji
    2018-09-15 11:35

    This is technically brilliant. Obviously Dylan was at home with the English lexicon and brought all his poetic prowess to the play, full of alliteration, melody and word play. And then...? There is little substance otherwise, the content falls flat and the concept of witnessing these villagers dreams at night and actions during the day is just too gimmicky. I have gained nothing by witnessing their lives and dreams. A great aesthetic play, but that's where it stops for me.

  • Deborah Pickstone
    2018-09-18 11:47

    I first read this when I was 8 years old and, amazingly, it hooked me. The cadence of the lilting Welsh voices was enthralling. I have read it many times since and seen it performed once and heard it performed on radio. One of my favourite plays of all time.

  • Ana Rînceanu
    2018-10-03 15:01

    This was quaint as f*ck! And a little strange...

  • John Winterson
    2018-09-24 14:52

    Most actual Welsh people have a conflict of emotions about Dylan Thomas. On the one hand, we take pride in his international success and his undoubted ability, at least on his better days, to put together a phrase that rings in the mind. Yet, at the same time, no modern author did more to cement the image of our ancient warrior-race as ‘quaint,’ to use Professor Schama’s notorious expression.Both sides of Dylan are on display in ‘Under Milk Wood,’ his play for voices, probably his most ambitious and most famous work.As one familiar in childhood with New Quay in Cardiganshire, the model for ‘Llareggub’ in the poem, there is no denying that ‘Milk Wood’ is a splendid evocation of time and place – but neither is there any denying that the characters represent an exaggeration of Welshness we have been trying to live down ever since. One rather reacts against it when, growing up in Wales, one is always being told how one should admire Dylan, but, re-reading him after many years, using his Centenary as a pretext, one is pleasantly surprised to rediscover his skill as a poet.In particular, there is an earthiness to Dylan which, daring in its day, still works better than the semi-pornography of some more recent poets. Put bluntly, Dylan does sex well – a compliment he would have relished.Structurally, ‘Milk Wood’ falls short of total success as a play for voices, but, in Dylan’s defence, we do not have it in its final form. We do not know where he would have taken it if his premature death had not spoilt his plans. One also wonders if it might have benefited from a stronger narrative spine if he had followed his original concept of putting the town on trial.In the end we are left not with a play but a collection of words and ideas – but some of them do stick in the mind afterwards.